Save Energy: Repair Drafty Windows

Repair drafty windows to keep cool air in during the summer and heat in during the winter.
By Paul Scheckel
June/July 2005
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A few inexpensive repairs on your windows can save you a significant amount of money in the future.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA


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Older windows are often big energy wasters. Buying new, energy-efficient windows is one way to reduce this lost energy, but there are also several inexpensive repairs that can improve the performance of your current windows.

Any drafts you feel when standing next to a window are likely due to air infiltration around the window frame or sash perimeter. Address drafts by installing sash locks and weatherstripping around the perimeter of the window. For double-hung windows, consider side-mounted sash locks that pull the window tight to the sides of the frame, not just where the sash rails meet.

You also can remove the inside trim surrounding the window to see how it was installed into the framing cavity. Any air space between the house shell and the window frame can cause significant air leakage and should be sealed. If the gap is not too wide, then it can be sealed with caulk, backer rod or nonexpanding foam. For windows with ropes and pulleys, buy pulley seals to stop air infiltration there.

You can reduce heat loss through windows by covering them with plastic window film or insulating window inserts, such as those available at Windo-Therm. Another option is to make simple window quilts by sandwiching a piece of Bubble Wrap between two pieces of cloth material, which can be rolled up and down as needed.







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RON DeMattio_1
11/12/2006 12:00:00 AM
I've made my own energy saving window inserts using wood and plastic. I made a frame of 1x2 that was slightly smaller than the inside dimensions of the window frame, stretched plastic film/or acetate/or clear vinyl, like that used for table covers. Then put foam tape around the outer sides of the frame and pushed it into the existing window frame.I've had people tell me they think it's not doing anything until I pull out one corner to let them feel the cold air breeze coming out the opening.2- another way to help cut energy loss is with simple vinyl roll up blinds. You can add little velcro pieces along the edges and on the window frame to hold in place when closed or just add little pieces of metal and glue small magnets to the window frame.We were in Italy in 2003 and in the South, they made very good use of roll up shades/shutters built into the door/window frames, and their external shutters were actually used to block heat from summer sun as well as insulate in winter. I saw several kinds- some were on roller tracks like barn doors, some just hinged shut, some had lower sections that tilted out to let more air in, give you a view and still block the hot sun.














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